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Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

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Barbara Ehrenreich goes where no professional woman has gone before in her book Nickel and Dimed as she exposes the harsh realities of living a minimum wage life. A real life journalist, Barbara goes undercover as a divorced woman who finds work first as a waitress, a maid, and lastly a Wal-Mart employee, each time starting over in a new city. Barbara becomes aware of the difficulties involved with each profession, and finds herself lacking some of the skills necessary to excel. She drives herself to physical and mental exhaustion, but sticks with her research to prove her point. Meanwhile, she struggles to make a living off the low pay that she receives, living in the cheapest places she can find available.
Barbara's clear, straight to the point, and honest explanation allows the reader to get inside the head of these workers that we depend on every day and that most people take for granted. Her main argument is proven in that it is a complicated task to get by on $6 an hour. The reader will feel a connection with Barbara and her struggle, and will most likely gain a different perspective on the working class. Some may even recognize their own struggle in Barbara's research. This quick read changed my point of view, and helped me to gain respect for those hard at work for low wages. Not only has it changed my view, but also the view of many Americans in today's society who had no idea how the lower class really lived. Barbara goes to great lengths to force us to take a second look at just how harsh our society can be, and we can praise her, for opening the eyes of thousands of readers.





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